7 Steps to Stay Grounded During Chaotic Times

 

A man is dealing with intense work rush hour traffic jam stress by getting relief doing yoga on top of his car in this humorous scene that shows PEACE on the license plate of the car he is sitting on.

You live in chaotic times. With electronic media, you are overwhelmed with news from around the world twenty-four hours a day. Most news is negative, full of fear, violence and despair. You feel weighted down by negativity. You want to experience joy without having to put your head in the sand. Here are seven ways to stay grounded despite all this and enjoy life.

  1. Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a great place to start. Mindfulness is a meditation practice to help you to live in the moment. The good news is that living in the moment does not require you to silence the mind. It is normal for your mind to think just as it is for your heart to beat.

 

Mindfulness can help you to quiet the mind through not getting overly attached to your thoughts. If you have not done this before you will need lots of practise just because you are starting a new habit. Start small with a goal you can achieve. So, you might want to start meditating for only five minutes each day.

Your daily practise can help you to reconnect with your highest self leading to a more meaningful life. You are at your best when you are open to your three energy centers. The three centers are body (physical), heart, (emotions) and head (thoughts). You will discover an inner knowing that you will grow to trust. Over time you will find your inner peace that will help you to live with hope, joy and purpose.

  1. You are what you eat

You have probably heard this statement before “You are what you eat”. When you are grounded you pay more attention to how your physical and emotional self responds to different types of food. Your body will let you know what it needs.

Your body will also let you know what type of exercise it needs. Have you heard that you should exercise until it hurts? You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t pay attention to the wisdom of your body. If your body is hurting you probably have pushed yourself to far.

Your body is unique to you. What others need does not necessarily mean you need the same thing. If you have tried, unsuccessfully, many exercise and diet programs do not despair. The more you practice mindfulness the better you will be with giving your body what it needs.

  1. Friends

Spending time in person with good friends can brighten your day. Have you noticed the difference between messaging, texting, talking on the phone and visiting in person? Meeting in person is always the most powerful way to connect with another person.

Most importantly you communicate not only with your words, but with your whole body. There is much you miss when you can not see the other person face to face, body to body.  When you are grounded, you can learn a lot about another person by how you feel inside yourself. You simply need to be open, to fully experiencing another person and be willing to go deep within yourself.

Have you noticed that you treat and are treated better when you are in person because there is no place to hide? There is much hatred and intolerance on social media because people don’t have to take ownership for what they say.

  1. Music therapy

Listen to music/songs that inspire you. What is your favourite song? Have you ever noticed what you experience on hearing different types of music and songs? Many of us are oblivious to how music impacts us.

Music and songs can touch as at a deep level. Some music gets us angry. Some music brings us feelings of peace. Some music is very disturbing. Have you ever reflected on how screen writers use music and song to heighten the emotions in a movie?

 

What music calms your mind? What are the songs that help you to cry?  What songs bring out the courage in you? Just remember what brings out these emotions in you won’t necessarily bring it out the same way in another person.

 

  1. Random acts of kindness

Practising random acts of kindness not only helps others, it changes the way you experience the world.  Have you noticed how good you feel after doing something positive for another person, an animal and/or for the environment? Acting with love changes the way you experience the world.

When you act with compassion your own energy is transformed. The energy of compassion permeates your whole being. You may not always be aware of it, but the people you meet are impacted by the emotional, spiritual and physical energy that emanates from you.

You attract the people with the same type of energy you have. Compassion attracts people with compassion. Calm attracts people who are calm. Contentment attracts people who are content. You will also attract those who desire to change. You can be a shining light for those caught in the storms of life.

 

  1. Joy of playing

Do you remember the joy of playing when you were a child? Playing helps you to find the inner child within you. A way of being when you are open, free and non-judgemental allowing you to experience the world through the lens of wonder and simplicity.

Growing up you have had to put on armour to protect you from all that all life throws at you. This is your ego at work. You could not survive without your ego, but as an adult it can hamper your growth. The good news is that with play you can rekindle that same spirit in you again.

 

Finding your true self can begin along journey for transformation. When you can begin to reside in this place of openness, wisdom and love suddenly the impossible is possible.

 

 

  1. Volunteering

Volunteer for an awesome non-profit organization is a great way to find hope, meaning and joy in life. What are your favourite non-profits? How would you like to make a difference in the world? What skills do you have to offer?

There are so many ways to volunteer in the world. Do you like to work in teams or do you work best work alone?  Maybe this will even lead to a job of your dreams.

Volunteering with a group that fits your values can change the way you see the world. When you feel good about what you do; you can change your emotions, your body chemistry and the lens which you see the world. The world will start to look a lot friendlier. You can choose to move from despair to hope. You will be a light to the world.

 

With intention, you can stay grounded no matter what is happening in the world.  Stay grounded through caring for your body, emotions and thoughts. Meditation helps you to stay in touch with your inner self. Caring for your body through exercise and eating well is life giving. Connecting with friends helps you to stay connected. Music and songs uplifts your spirit. Playing, like a child, opens your heart to experiencing the world with openness. Last and not least, volunteer for an organization that fits your values which helps you to radiate hope wherever you go.

 

Roland Legge offers life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online at   https://www.relconsultants.com/calendar/ .  Please click on “Discovery Call”.

 

 

 

 

Nine Signs that your Relationship is Over

Unhappy stressed young couple having an argument

Relationships are Complex

Intimate relationships are complex. At their best they are meaningful, encouraging and beautiful and at their worst they destroy lives. All relationships go through ups and downs.

The Joy is Gone

But when the joy of being together is no longer there we ether need to make changes or end the relationship. I am writing to you who have tried everything to save your relationship, but nothing seems to be changing.

Faithful you have Been

You have worked so hard to save your relationship! Your family and friends have been after you to leave your partner. But you took your vows seriously and did everything you could to save it.

It is hard to let Go

It is hard to let go. It feels overwhelming to envision life on your own whether the relationship has been long or short, especially if you have children. You feel like a failure because you are breaking a promise. You never imagined you would be the one to end the relationship.

You feel Alone

You feel alone and fear it will be worse when you are separated. You wonder how it will impact the friendships you have developed as a couple. You wonder how it will impact your children. You ask yourself is this the best decision for my children.

The Promise I Made

Most of us go into marriages with the expectation they will be life long. Sadly there are still religious groups that condemn people who leave marriages. If you have done your best to save your marriage, if there was something good to save, you have nothing to be ashamed of. But there comes the moment when it is time to let go so you can find some joy in your life again.

The Nine Signs

Here are nine signs that suggest it may be time to end your relationship:

Walking on Egg Shells

  1. You feel like you are walking on egg shells. You are always fighting and/or being given the silent treatment. You haven’t had a good sleep in weeks. The stress is taking a toll on you. Friends, family and colleagues keep asking you what is wrong. You are too embarrassed to tell the people in your life.

 

My Children are Acting Out

  1. Your children are acting out even though you have tried so hard to prevent the children from knowing that you are having relationship problems. You keep reassuring them even though you know you are lying.

 

What more is there to Read?

  1. You have read so many books on relationships, but nothing seems to be working. Your spouse isn’t interested and thinks all these books are silly. He thinks there is not a problem. He says this is how it was it was with his parents. He keeps telling me just to suck it up. This makes me cry even more.

 

It is all in your Head

  1. You have been after her to go for counselling. She keeps telling you it is all in your head. You still go but no matter what you try nothing seems to improve. The stronger you get the more you realize that you can’t not live with this stress much longer.

 

Your Friends are Worried

  1. Your best friend tells you over and over that you have a place to come whenever you decide to leave. They tell you how concerned they are for your wellbeing. They tell you how much they hate seeing you suffer. They keep reminding me that you are not a failure. You are gradually getting to believe her.

 

Pushed Beyond Limits

 

  1. You are pushed beyond your limits. He goes off and buys the latest Quad which we can not afford. You are getting more and more worried that you are going to have difficulty in paying bills. He wants to go on a big trip this summer. You keep telling him that you can not afford it.

 

My Spouse is in Denial

  1. You would not call your spouse an alcoholic, but you have always been concerned that they drink too much at times. You notice that she is becoming more and more irritated the more she drinks. You ask her to stop and get help but she won’t listen.

 

I am always Sick

  1. You are getting sick far too often. You have terrible headaches! Your stomach is upset. You are feeling depressed. You are at your wits end. Suddenly the thought you had avoided of leaving is starting to feel like a good idea.

 

Why Me?

  1. You have tried so hard to ignore your intuition. You had never thought you would be the one to end the relationship. You are discovering strength and courage within yourself to make the break. It still feels overwhelming but you know that you will make it through it with the help of friends, family and professionals.

Are you Ready for the Big Decision?

Are you at the breaking point? Usually something will happen that will make you question whether it is worth trying to save your relationship. If you can relate to a half or more of the nine points you may be ready to make that big decision.

What a Relief

Once you make the decision to leave it feels like a load has come off your back. You call your best friend to tell them your decision. You start the process to leave deciding that you are going to write a letter to your spouse explaining your reasons for leaving and that you will be find a lawyer and/or mediator to begin the formal separation process.

There is Hope

You surround yourself with all those you need to walk through this process. You feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. You know deep within you that you are making the best decision.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

 

You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

The Future is Now, Strategic Vision

 

Fed up with Your Job

Are you ready for a job change, but you are too fearful to try? Many of us are stuck in jobs we don’t enjoy. The good news is that we don’t need to stay in them.

Excuses

Our minds are good at coming up with all sorts of excuses.  For example, the money is good in my current job. My family is relying on me. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t doing my current job. I don’t want to go back to school. I am too old to start something new. I am afraid to fail. I should be thankful for what I have. Can you relate to any of these excuses?

The Beginning of a New Adventure

What would it take to get you exploring a new job or career?  For me it was growing frustration with my current job and excitement about something new I was learning. It also helped to have friends and family who were encouraging me.

Career Planning Needs Imagination

In high school did you go through a computer program in Guidance Class to discover what you would be good at doing? When I did this none of their suggestions really appealed to me. The trouble was that the careers I was interested in were not on the list. To many of the things I wanted to do included skills and abilities I did not think I had. I now know this is a time to dream big!

Loving your Work

What do you love to do? Do you like interacting with people? Would you rather be working by yourself? Do you love to work with numbers? Are you good at organising? Do you like talking on the phone? Would you describe yourself as creative? Would you rather work for yourself? These are but a few of the questions you might want to think about.

What is Enough?

How much money do you need to do what you love? Here are a couple of questions to get you thinking. How important is it for you to travel? Are you a person that likes to stay close to home? If you live in a city do you need a car? Instead of buying books you could get them from the library. Do you really need all the latest gadgets to enjoy life?

What quality of life do you Want?

I have met few people who would say they have enough money. I think most of us think we could always use more. But how much money is enough for you.  Maybe you would rather have more time off from work to enjoy time with loved ones.

What on earth should I Do?

You don’t know what you want to do? Go and take a course for credit or not, on a topic that interests you. Volunteer for an organization that excites you.  Over time you will discover more interests and skills. You may be surprised to find a way to do something you love and make a living from it.

What is your Passion?

I got drawn to learn about the personality system called the Enneagram. Gradually this led me to a Life Coaching program that uses the Enneagram as one of its main tools to help people to discover the wisdom that is within them. At the beginning, I didn’t do this because I thought it would lead me to a new career.

Do it because you Love It

I did it because I loved what I was learning. I was so excited about what I was learning that I wanted to share it with others. Now I have left a job that no longer inspires me into something new that has reignited my passion for life.

Start Small

Start small. Find a book on a topic that inspires you.  Maybe this will lead you to taking a course. Find an organization or group who will support you in your learning. As you explore new possibilities you will build self confidence opening yourself up to new possibilities. You will know when you are ready to make the big leap.

Live knowing that you have something important to Offer the World

Life is too shore to spend a lot of time doing things you don’t enjoy or suck the life out of you. Take the risk to begin a new adventure in your life. It is never too late to begin. You will be rewarded in ways that you never expected.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Relationships are not always for Ever

Gefangen im Liebeschaos

 

Getting out of an unhealthy Relationship

Are you in a relationship you need to get out of? What is preventing you from leaving? Is it more about what others will think of you if you leave. Is it about the money? Is it about the wellbeing of your children?

Family and Friends

Have you considered that your close friends and family maybe wondering why you are still stuck in this unhappy relationship? They might even be willing to help you in your time of transition. People who love you want the best for you.

Relationships are not supposed to End

Most of us come into relationships expecting them to be life long. Relationships come to an end for many reasons. Sometimes we choose our partner out of desperation to feel normal and not alone. Other times we don’t invest enough time together in our relationship that one day we wake up and don’t know the other person.

Learning along the Journey

There are times when one person in the couple grows in self awareness while the other in the relationship stays stuck. One might be happy with the status quo but the other is not happy and wants change. No one can be forced to change. We can only invite.

Children are Impacted

If you are staying in the relationship to protect your children this is not a good reason. Children are very sensitive and will notice the conflict between you and your partner no matter how hard you try to hide it. Your kids will be much happier if they have two happier parents living apart.

I would never end a Relationship!

You may be like me, who never dreamed they would be the one to end the relationship. But often it is the one who is seeking change is the one who needs to take the initiative to ether seek help or begin the process to end the relationship. Your partner might be angry with you at the time, but in the end, they may even thank you. Destructive relationships are not good for anyone.

Breakup are never Easy

Even in the best of breakups they are never easy. If you can work through issues with a mediator this is much better than fighting in court. Working this out together cooperatively will be a win win for all.

Life is Precious

Our lives are too short to not enjoy what we have been given. What makes you shine? What do you love to do? What brings a smile to your face. Who are the people you really want in your life? So now might be a good time in your life to invest time and money into helping you to find greater joy, harmony and purpose in life.

You are Loved

I was amazed by all the support I got from friends and family when I ended my first marriage. I discovered who my true friends were. I was showered was love. It didn’t take my pain away but it sure made it much easier to move on.

You are not Alone

Remember you are not alone! We are all here on this planet to support and encourage each other. No person can to do it all alone. There is no shame in asking for help from a friend, a family member or a professional. This is more a sign of strength than weakness.

Learn from your Mistakes

I asked myself what I needed to learn from the breakup of my first marriage. Who would want to repeat the same mistakes again? This takes some deep soul searching. It can feel scary to go within but it is the only way to get beyond that which is holding us back from living the best lives we can. Each of us needs to take responsibility for our part in the relationship.

Would you rather smile or Frown?

You are likely angry at your spouse. Probably with good reason. But holding on this is not in your best interest. It takes a lot of energy to stay angry.  Here is something to try. Frown for a moment and notice all the muscles you use and how it feels and compare it with it how it feels to smile. I would rather smile.

Forgiveness is about Liberation

Forgiveness is not about saying to your spouse it is okay how you have hurt me. It is not about forgetting what they did to you.  It is about getting to place where those memories no longer trigger you and/or negatively impact future relationships.

Give yourself the Gift of Self Reflection

The best gift you can give yourself is time to slow down and really notice what is going on inside your body, emotions and thoughts. Avoiding these will only make them come back stronger at a time you least expect.

Pamper Yourself

As you go through your breakup take time to focus on your own needs. Go get a massage, they are a great way to connect to our body and it feels so good after the treatment. Spend time with friends and family you enjoy being with. Try some form of meditation to quiet your mind. This might be doing something you love such as walking, running, gardening, ceramics, painting or whatever delights you.

You are Worth It

Most of all as you move through this time of transition into a happier life do not be afraid to seek help. Whether it be a friend, family member, spiritual leader or professional there are people who want to help you.

You are worth it! Go and make the best of your life!  You have many cheering you on.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

 

Being Your Best Self

pexels-photo-347988Wholeness and Relationship

Have you ever referred to your partner as your better half? Does this accurately describe who you are? It does not describe me. You know you are not half a person!  You are a whole human being. When two people come together it takes two whole people to make a healthy relationship. Sadly, two many of do not bring our whole selves to our relationship because we are not aware of what we are capable of being.  In this article, I seek to explore three ways to get in touch with our best self.

Wisdom of the Body

Wisdom

Your body is full of wisdom. One way you can learn more about yourself and world is through paying attention to your body. You have most likely experienced a gut feeling about something happening or about to happen in your life.  Your body will let you know about whether a path in life is the best for you.  If you are not sure slow down and take some time to ground yourself through some form of meditation that will quiet your mind, open your heart and help you to focus on your body.

Paying attention

You might a feel muscles tightening up in your gut, chest, throat or hands. Each of us have certain parts of our body that are more susceptible to stress in our life. What is that for you?  Maybe your shoulders feel like they are trying to hold up the world. Take a deep breath, breathing into the parts of your body that are feeling uncomfortable and as you blow out notice the stress leaving your body.

It feels like I am going crazy

I know this can feel overwhelming at first because of sensations, emotions and thought that have been repressed for years. It might even feel like you are going crazy but I assure you, you are not! Try to be gentle with yourself. Allowing and accepting these intense sensations, emotion and thoughts takes time. The only way is to go through it. Just remember it is best to not do this alone. Find a close friend, family member or professional you can be honest with.

Honesty

Over time you will get to know the difference between what you are frightened of trying and that which is not in your highest interest.  Have you experienced times in your life when you felt ready to try something new in your life and yet feel a little scared? I have had those times and yet somehow, I new that what I was choosing to do whether that be school, a new job or a new relationship that it was in my best interest. I have also experienced times when my body has made it clear that I need to avoid a particular, path. I do well when I pay attention to my body.

Practice

Make a practice of daily of checking in with your body to discover what wisdom it can offer you. The more you do it the easier it will be. You will be so thankful for the wisdom of your body. Your body will help you to discover your higher self.

Wisdom of the Heart

Are you in touch with your emotions?

Are you an emotional person?  How easy do you find it to get in touch with your emotions?   Is it easy for you to cry? Does this embarrass you? You have nothing to be ashamed of! It is gift to have a heart that is open, unless your over sensitivity is getting in the way of you living your life. It is all about balance.

Acceptance

As you move through life it is learning to accept where we are at, in each moment of life.  This is so we do not get stuck in our own insecurity. When our heart is open, we have the capacity to be gentle and forgiving of ourselves. When we can forgive, ourselves we can forgive others.

Heart Truth

Your heart is a window into your inner world. Does it feel open?  If your chest is feeling warm with energy moving around, your heart is open.   If it is feeling cold and dead then you are shut off from this great wisdom. It might feel like you are short circuiting. There is no shame in this. It just means that your heart shut down to help you to survive. But in the long run you will miss so much in life if you allow it to stay closed. How familiar are you with this experience?

Being true to your Heart

Your heart energy is there and just waiting for you to create an environment where it can risk expressing itself. When our hearts are open we not only feel connected to ourselves but also to those around us.

Opening our heart is risky business because we can get hurt or unintentionally hurt another person. But the gift of truly loving another person and being loved out weighs any downside of being hurt. All aspects of the heart are part of the human condition. They are neither good or bad. They simply are.

Connection to the whole World

You are connected to the whole earth and its inhabitants through your heart. We can feel the joy and pain in the people we meet besides our own. An open heart helps us to be open to the needs of others while still caring for ourselves. Our heart reminds us of our humanity repeatedly.

Playing and Working Together

With an open heart, we can find ways of working and playing together in relationship that is beneficial for both. It opens the door for us to show our love for the people in our life through encouraging them to be all they can be.  We no longer get confused thinking we want the best for our partner when we really are doing it out of our own insecurity.  Our open hearts creates space for you to be your best self.

Wisdom of the Head

Is your head your enemy?

Does your head feel like it is your enemy sometimes? If you feel this way, remember you have the capacity to befriend it.

Releasing my mind from the chatter

When you quiet your mind, you have access to the wisdom of our head. But you ask, how do I quiet my mind. Most of us find it hard to slow the chatter in our heads. When we have, conversations going on in our heads it is hard for us to pay attention to what is going on in the moment. Most of us can not imagine a quiet mind because we can never remember a time when our mind was calm.

Good News

The good news is that you can quiet your mind with practice. There are many ways to do this from meditation, listening to music, singing, creating art and much more.  This does not mean that you get to the point of emptying your thoughts, but to a place where you do not get stuck in your fears and insecurities.

Just Knowing

Have you ever just woken up one morning and new what you needed to do. You somehow just know this is the next step you need to take. Trust this wisdom, because it is a gift to be embraced. Do not bother trying to justify your decision. If you know it is the write thing to do go for it. I have experienced breakthroughs like this when I am so tired my mind can no longer can try to control things. What has been your experience?

On the path to transforming Relationships

Synergy in Three

When your three energy centers are in harmony with each other you will be on the path to being your best self; a blessing to yourself and those you choose to be in relationship with you. Life will still have its challenges, but there will be a gentler flow and energy because you will be present in each moment to make the best decisions for you and those you love.

Freedom to be me

You will attract people with the same level of health. Relationships will no longer be a struggle because you are being fully open to yourself and your partner. There will no longer be manipulation by ether party. Each of you will be honest and want to make choices that will be beneficial to you both.

Joy in being with your own company

But even in times when you find yourself single you will be able to enjoy this time in life whether it short term or permanent because you will find ways to meet your own needs. You will have the blessing of great friendships that will bring out the best in you.

Finding your soulmate

If you do find your soulmate, there will be a synergy that creates the best type of relationship that grows from two healthy people. When two people come together in mutual love and respect the two create something even greater than two people could do individually.  They create a beautiful mosaic that not only enhances, both, but the whole world.

Roland Legge is a coach and founder of REL Consultants offering to help individuals, couples, families and executives to discover the wisdom that is already within them. Call Roland today at 1 306 620-7478 to arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call or email him at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com for a private discussion about how he can help.

Who is welcome to your table?

Table Fellowship

Sermon – June 12th 2016

4th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)

By Roland Legge

1 Kings 21:1-21a

Luke 7:36-8:3

By Roland Legge

 

Next Sunday we are going to take part in the sacred meal which we call communion.  Why do we do it?  We do it to remember Jesus.  But even more importantly we do it because it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge that we are all part of God’s amazing family.  This means that every person on earth is part of our family!!

 

Jesus is calling us to love our family even those we do not like. This is no easy task!  But I have no doubt that this is what Jesus expects of us.  Do you agree?

 

Our scripture passages today introduce us to two members of our family the religious people looked down upon.  One of them, the so called “sinful woman” from the Gospel would be no different than a poor person would be today.  Why was she condemned? She had been labeled a sinner.  We do not know what her sins were even though she has been called a prostitute to this very day.  She was certainly a woman that made all the righteous people uncomfortable.

 

We know she was a woman who had been touched deeply by Jesus.  I am guessing that it was Jesus that helped her to recognize that she was loved by God even though she had sinned.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus had helped her to find meaning, purpose and hope in her life.  This woman was so thankful to Jesus that she, with great emotion, shared her heart felt appreciation touching Jesus in intimate ways. This public demonstration of love probably made Jesus host’s even more uncomfortable.

 

Jesus new that she was sorry for her sins because of her genuine penitence, shown in her tears. Through the woman’s brokenness God was able to break through to her.  Unfortunately, the Pharisees were too blinded to see the truth.  Sadly, they could not see the beauty of the transformation taking place because of their denial of their own sinfulness.  Would this sinful woman be welcome at your table?

 

 

Jezebel is a woman who would not be welcome at our table.  Have you ever been called a Jezebel?  If we have most of us would not take this as a complement.  Over the centuries Jezebel has been labeled as evil personified.  She was a woman to take seriously. But was she really as evil as we think?   We are all a mixture of saint and sinner. Maybe if I give you another perspective of Jezebel you might feel more comfortable in inviting her to the family table.

 

Jezebel was a Queen and she took her role seriously. She was also a zealous follower of Baal. Her religion was different from her Jewish husband.  It was an older religion.  It had both male and female gods.  Also, the gods of her religion seemed to be a lot less demanding. So it made sense for her to keep worshiping her god’s.  But then she was seen as a threat by Elijah because she was promoting, what was for him, the wrong god.  Jews were fervent in their belief in a single God rather than a religion of many gods.   Barbara J. Essex sums up well for me a more accurate memory of Jezebel.

She was not a harlot or seductress.  She was not involved in any sexual scenes.  She was a woman from another culture and worldview trying to adjust in a new and strange land.  She was not a villain to be eternally despised—she was religiously committed, politically savvy, determined, self-assured, bodacious, and clever.  She was dedicated to her family and a zealous missionary for Baal.  And she died as she lived—royally!

Bad Girls of the Bible by Barbara J. Essex The Pilgrim Press Cleveland Ohio 1999 pp. 63

Does this question your perspective of her? Are we now ready to invite Jezebel to the table?

 

Now back to our own time. Besides ourselves who are we going to invite to the table.  It is obvious we are going to invite all our friends and family that we get along with.  But who are the people the Spirit wants us to invite that we would rather not?  I know there are people that would make me feel very uncomfortable. What about you?

 

Most weddings I have done in my life have been great.  But once I began to prepare with a bride for a wedding she became very nasty and aggressive.  She decided very quickly that she did not like me and was determined to not have me marry her.  I didn’t.  It was one of the very few times in my life when a person has made accusations against me that were far from the truth.  I was angry and hurt.  I was hurt again when the congregation invited someone I did not respect to be the celebrant for the wedding.    But yet I know that this couple is invited to the table.  I need to remember that the pastor who did the wedding should be invited to the table too.  The miracle is that God invites us to the table no matter how imperfect we are.

 

I remember in grade one when I broke my leg I had the privilege to bring a classmate home after school to play.  I remember there was one girl I did not want to bring home.  But my mother made it very clear to me that she needed to be included.  It would be wrong to exclude her.  That was a powerful lesson for me.  Yes, this girl I wanted to exclude needs to be invited to the table.

 

Inviting my ex-wife to the table would make me feel very uncomfortable.  It is very tempting to blame all the problems of our marriage on her.  I have come to a place in my life where I can be thankful for all I learned in my first marriage.  I wouldn’t be as mature today if I had not gone through the trials and tribulations of my first marriage. I know I need to invite Yvonne to the table even if it will be difficult for me.

 

I do not believe that God is calling us to put ourselves in danger.  But I do believe God is calling us to keep breaking down the walls between us.  This is no easy job!! It is a lifelong calling.  We might not get further than trying to see that of God in another person.  It might not be more than naming an abuse which gives the abuser the opportunity to take responsibility for their behavior.

 

Who do you need to invite to the table? Who are the people you most despise?  Who are the people who have a lifestyle that makes no sense to you?  Who are the people that make you feel uncomfortable?  Who are the people you feel inadequate around?  We could fill our church several times over with the people we need to invite to our family table.

 

Are you ready to come to the table?  God is expecting you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing the Enemy

Healing of the Centurion Slave2jpg

Reflection:

Sermon – May 29th 2016

2nd Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)

By Roland Legge

Galatians 1:1-12

Luke 7:1-10

 

Jesus on his travels meets this Centurion man. He comes to Jesus to save the life of a slave whom he greatly values.  This is surprising, that a Roman would come to Jesus to save the life of his slave as the Romans considered the Jews as irritants.  It is also surprising that Jesus would have agreed to help a Roman Military leader because it is they who were making life very difficult for the Palestinian Jews. Why was Jesus in awe of this man’s faith? I believe it was because this man had such faith in Jesus ability to heal and that this some how transcended all the differences in status, nationality and religion between them.

 

Healing, in the way of Jesus, has the power to break down all walls in society.  In ancient times healing was a common occurrence.  There were many people who claimed to be healers. There were the usual variety of people from the honest to the fakes. But, what was unusual about Jesus was that it transcended all ethnic, and religious boundaries.  Jesus was willing to heal any one.  So why do we have hang-ups with healing today?

 

In the United Church of Canada, we are not comfortable with the concept of healing even though it was a focus of Jesus’ ministry.  So, why have we in the traditional churches become so resistant to the ministry of healing?  Our Protestant forbears became so fixated through seeing the world through the rational eyes of science, psychology, philosophy, and medicine that religious mystery was put on the side-line. There was little room left for mystical, non-rational ministry of healing.  We have been hindered by the intellectual walls that we have put up to keep out the mystery.   However, I believe Jesus is calling us to renew our passion for healing.

 

I believe Jesus brings healing through his deep care for the whole person. He also has a deep care and love for the whole world and so desires to heal the world with all its inhabitants.  You can not have one form of healing without the other. When you help to heal an individual you help to heal a family.  When you help to heal a family you help to heal a community.  When you help to heal a community who help to heal a nation.  A simple way to begin a healing ministry is through prayer.

 

But a word to the wise from Morton Kelsey and Francis McNutt in how we pray for healing:

In our enthusiasm for healing prayer, a word of caution seems wise. Since Jesus is the savior and healer, we must always seek his will as we consider praying for healing. Our primary task is to listen for God and to identify where, how, and if God may want to use us as we pray.

The Healing Church by Karin Granberg-Michaelson found in https://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/healing-church?parent=47011

 

I believe that prayer is an important part of healing.  Prayer can help us discern how we can be a healing presence in the lives of those we meet whether it be family, friends or people we do not know.  I suspect the Centurion must have prayed for guidance.  What do you think?  Prayer can help us to find from within ourselves as to what healing we need in our own lives.

 

When we unleash the power of God’s love through prayer we never know what is going to happen.  Healing can happen in so many ways.  It often happens in ways that we least expect it to.  In the end the love of God is a wondrous mystery.  None of us can ever earn it, but we must be open to how ever we receive it.  I believe that when we pray there is healing, yet it is often being not what we were hoping for.

 

Healing comes out of relationships, from solidarity with those who are hurting, from people with compassion for those who are sad and depressed, from the sharing of good food, it comes from having a safe place to live that is affordable, it comes from caring community that shares resources with each other, it comes from loving family that brings out the best in each other, it comes from social transformation through education social action and prayer.  No matter how you look at it, it is the result of the Holy Spirit being at work.

 

So how do we incorporate healing into our own ministry? Morton Kelsey and Frances Mc Nutt gives us some suggestions in how to live this out.

 

1) sharing a call to a particular healing work with others, 2) seeking to know God personally, 3) praying for our own healing and that of others, and 4) offering ourselves to others for their healing. This parallels the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program–finding freedom in sharing one’s confession of weakness and serving others still in bondage to their particular addiction.


I invite us to reflect on how we at Foam Lake United Church can become more and more a healing community.  Already we have many people reaching to those in our community who are sick, grieving and/or lonely.  You offer pastoral care to those who have had a recent death in their family through providing hospitality after the funeral service.  You provide opportunities for folks to come together to play cards and enjoy a luncheon.  How else can we be place of hope and healing in our community?  How can we reach out to our young families?  How can we reach out to the many middle aged people who have stopped coming to church?  How can reach out to the many in our community and/or world who are suffering and struggling in many ways.

 

There is no magic solution to this.  A healing ministry requires the attention of all members of the congregation to make this ministry important in the life of the congregation. Your minister and a few lay leaders can not make this happen alone no matter who they are.

 

The Good News is that in the end our congregation is enlivened when we become known as a place of healing and renewal.  People will notice the difference whether we are long time church goers or new comers.  More and more people will experience a deep connection of the Spirit that is beyond anything we could ever hope to describe.  Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!  Amen!!!

 

A Very Windy Day

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Sermon – May 15th 2016

Pentecost Sunday (Year C)

By Roland Legge

Acts 2:1-21

 

In the prairies we can relate to wind!  Wind has a way of stirring everything up.  It can be both a refreshing breeze on a hot day or make it frigid on some cold days in the winter.  Wind can push us around. I remember when I lived in downtown Toronto I would have to be very careful when I would be walking down Bay street with the cold winds coming off Lake Ontario making it extremely difficult to walk.  Think for a moment of your own stories of wind.

 

On this day long ago the wind of the Holy Spirit woke up a lot of people.  It opened people’s minds, hearts and bodies into the fullness that the Spirit created us to be.  Pentecost was not just a one-time event but one that takes place every day if we pay attention.

 

Pentecost is about awakening to the reality that God has given us everything we need to live faithfully and fully in the world.  Instead of being threatened by this reality the spirit of Pentecost helps us to embrace this Good News.  Now everything good in the world that we thought to be impossible is now possible.

 

I invite each of you to find the Pentecost spirit right in you.  The Spirit is awakened in us when we are able to quiet our minds.  The Spirit is awakened in us when we retreat into our inner world to find out what is going on.   Miraculously, the Spirit speaks to us through the sensations we are experiencing in our minds, bodies and hearts. So God is never far away.    Now isn’t that Good News!

 

The spirit sure shook up the early followers of Jesus.  Suddenly religious, social, cultural and gender walls began tumbling down.  Jews who were following Jesus wanted to begin sharing this radical new way of living with Gentiles, women, and many people on the fringes of their communities.  This was radical!

 

In the ministry of Paul and other early leader’s women became a vital part of this ministry not only in preaching, doing social justice, but in the financing of this ministry.  Peter had the audacity of baptizing an Ethiopian eunuch!   Saint Thecla began a movement to liberate women who wanted to be free to do the work of God without the oppression of the men in their lives.  Many people living in abject poverty no longer were willing to be oppressed and started to challenge their oppressors with courage and confidence.  Why was this happening?    It was happening because of the belief that Jesus passed on that all people are equal in the “eyes” of God.

 

Sadly, as Christianity was embraced by the ruling elite, our church lost its radical hospitality.  Patriarchy took over again.  It didn’t take long to come back.  We were back to the status quo probably about 100 years after Jesus died.  But there has always been a fringe that wanted to take us back to the intentions of Jesus and the early Christian community.

 

I am not saying the early Christian community was perfect.  We can tell from the letters of Paul there were many disagreements.  People held strongly held opinions and yes there was much acrimony.  But the acrimony mostly came from the teachings of Jesus that challenged those with power and privilege.

 

Today much of the Christian church is trying to reclaim that Pentecost Spirit that breaks down the walls instead of putting them up.  Young people around our world are hungry for meaning, purpose and making the world a better place.  For them church needs to be about community where we encourage each other to build up the Kindom of God over and over again.  They want to be part of something that is really going to make a difference in their lives.   They want to make a difference in the world.

 

Today I am experiencing the radical hospitality of the Spirit just as much outside the church as it is in it.  I am meeting people from all walks of life.  People are hungry to clean up the environment. People are hungry to end the many conflicts in the world.  People are hungry to stop bullying.  People are hungry to end domestic violence.  There is so much good going on in our world if we just look for it.  This is the power of Pentecost in action.

 

I feel like I am living in the midst of Pentecost winds.  My life is going through radical change and I am so excited.  It feels like a lot of the walls I have put up in the past are coming down and I am finding new life beyond it.  Before I was too scared to try.  What would you like to do, but too scared to try?

 

Some of the great religious/social movements have been fueled by the winds of Pentecost.  The end of slavery in the western world came thanks to many faithful courageous people.  Human rights for African Americans came from millions of faithful people of all races.  The Spirit kept the people going when it was very difficult.  The end of Apartheid in South Africa ended because of millions of people around the world forcing the South African government to change and great spiritual leaders such as Desmond Tutu helped to make it as peaceful a revolution as possible.

 

The wonder of the Spirit is that it never gives up.  When the spirit resides in our hearts we feel called to do our part even if we don’t get to see the fruits of our work.  The Spirit is calling us in Canada to bond with our Indigenous neighbours and finally end the oppression against these peoples.   The Spirit is calling upon us to clean up our environment to save our world for all of life.  In the end the spirit wants each of us to have meaningful work, great friends, good health and hearts bursting with love to share with all we meet.  The Spirit wants us to honor all of God’s creation.  We are just learning about what this really means for us.  When we welcome the Holy Spirit we will have the energy to do what we are being called to do.

 

May God grant us the grace to embrace the Holy Spirit.  When we fully embrace the Holy Spirit Foam Lake United Church will find even more joy, hope, energy and new life.  The Good News being that we already have all the resources we need to do this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Call to Heal

Sermon – September 27th 2015

18th Sunday after Pentecost

By Roland Legge

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
James 5:13-20 
Mark 9:38-50

Jesus’ disciples are feeling good about themselves. They were a part of very important ministry with the Messiah.  How good can it get? Yet they were threatened by someone else healing in the name of God.

They tell Jesus about this impostor.  But to their surprise Jesus was not upset and says “Whoever is not against us is for us.” His followers cannot comprehend why he wasn’t upset.   Jesus has to explain to them, that as the strangers were healing in the name of Spirit, he had no issue with their ministry.  As far as Jesus was concerned the more the merrier.

Jesus demonstrated through his life that he was more concerned with what people did rather than the background of the person who did it.  So for Jesus the act had more importance than the reputation of the person who did it.  A person’s actions were far more important for Jesus than their nationality, gender, religion, color of their skin or abilities.  We still struggle with prejudice today.

Last week we were talking about what it means to be Christian.  Over the centuries people have answered this question in many ways.  Still today the challenge is for us to be open what Scripture is telling us today.

Many of us have a tendency to make God into our own image making the holy a weapon rather than a blessing. Our personal demon tricks us into thinking that we are one of the saved while the people we don’t like will go to hell.  Most of us realize that this is a too simplistic way of thinking.  Yet it still hard to motivate ourselves to risk turning our belief systems upside down.

For me the miracle is that our inspired Scriptures have new things to say to each new generation.  Our Scripture reminds us that we believe in a God of surprises who keeps challenging our prejudices.  Much to our annoyance there is no place that the Creators love cannot go!  The only person we can hold responsible is our selves.

What do we do when we have no person, religion, nationality or belief system to blame?  So for example instead of blaming Muslims, or some other groups, we need to look at ourselves.  We all have shadow sides, that part of us which can be mean, close minded, exclusive and demeaning.  Whether or not we want to admit it we all have it.  The question is are we able to acknowledge that part of ourselves so we can be free from it.  Are we able to allow God’s love to shine on our hurts, anger and greed so they can be transformed into generosity and love?   I believe that with the Creator’s help through each of us we can be changed people building people up rather than tearing them down.

James reminds us that our heart is changed when we to get to know people who we do not feel comfortable with, such as people of the Muslim faith.  I think we would find just as many amazing Muslims as Christians in the world.

The Spirit has shown me the goodness in so many people from all walks of life.  Sometimes it has taken longer than I would like to see people in the eyes of God.  What helped to change my way of thinking was getting to know people I had up to then looked down upon.

In fact James shows us how important hospitality is for our faith.   We are here on this earth to care for each other through prayer, helping each other out in tangible ways, encouraging each other through the hard times and challenging each other through the good times.

The only way we can care for each other is by really knowing each other.  How well do you know each member of our congregation?  Why is it such a challenge for so many congregations to take the time to get to know each other well?  Imagine if a new person arrived in our congregation.  How are we to get to know each other if we don’t create time for this to happen.

James wants us to do more than hospitality.  He wants us to create a healing ministry.  Jesus spent much of his time healing those who were suffering.  Healing begins to happen when we take time to be with a hurting person.  When we risk touching a person by shaking hands, hugging, and just being in their midst barriers are broken.  When we participate in the ancient rituals of anointing a person with oil, sharing prayer and invoking the spirit through the laying on of hands there is transformation.  When we really listen to another person’s story and share our own we become closer.  When we help a person out in need not only with our time and attention but with our physical resources fear is released.

For me there is a big difference between healing and curing.  When we participate in the healing ministry we can make no promises other than the Spirit will be with us.  I believe that we will be healed in some way.  But it may not be the way we would like the healing to happen.  Yes extraordinary healings do happen with cancer being there one minute and gone the next.

But more often the miracle is a change of heart.  It might be a family coming back together in forgiveness.  It might mean discovering what their life is really about and taking whatever time they have left to live out their life mission.  Healing comes in many ways.  It is a gift to be welcomed.  It is the knowledge that God loves each of us unconditionally.  Whether we are cured or not is no determination of the efficacy of the healing.  It simply is.

Thank you Jesus for showing us the way.  God’s love for each of us is much broader than any person could comprehend.  So let us learn from Jesus and welcome each person we meet, knowing they are a person of God.  Let us celebrate with Jesus as the walls crumble and we are reminded that we are all part of a great family.  Whenever we do something that enhances God’s creation, no matter how small or big, God is celebrating saying well done good and faithful steward.images

Mother Wisdom: A Call to Transformation

Sermon – September 13th 2015

16th Sunday after Pentecost

By Roland Legge

Hebrew Scripture:  Proverbs 1:20-33

Epistle: James 3:1-12

Gospel: Mark 8:27-38

 

What does wisdom mean for you?  Today we read about Wisdom in the book of Proverbs.  Wisdom is personified as female energy.   Wisdom comes to us through the Spirit within us.  Wisdom is about equality. Wisdom is about resolving conflict non-violently. Wisdom calls upon us to listen to our hearts.  Wisdom calls upon us to think carefully.  Wisdom calls upon us to treat each other as we would treat ourselves.  Wisdom is always calling upon us to listen with our wholes selves.

We would all be better off if we would pay more attention to Mother Wisdom.  James expresses in his epistle, that same desire, to call upon the Christian Community to live more peacefully with each other.  James is calling upon people to be careful what they say.  James is calling upon his people to only speak in ways that build up rather than tear down.  James new that words can hurt.  Words can destroy people, churches, communities, and nations.  We too can learn from James because I believe there is just as much negative and destructive behaviour in our churches and communities today as there was in Jesus day.

Jesus had a very strong relationship with Mother Wisdom.  Through his deep encounter with the Spirit, throughout his life, he was able to see a path to restoring the world to the way that God had intended.   Jesus was trying to explain his mission to his disciples in today’s passage.

This was to be a mission that would transform the world from its ugly ways of violence, manipulation and the abuse of power to one of love, respect and justice for all.  Peter couldn’t believe his ears, because he knew that this non-violent path could have Jesus killed and maybe him too.  So Peter rebukes him!  But Jesus does not give up.  He knows that his followers were looking for a great king, like David, who would bring them a great military victory.  Jesus new his ways were revolutionary!

Jesus new he was a very different leader that comes from a very different premise of strength through vulnerability.  The cross became the symbol of strength through vulnerability. This is still a radical idea for our day.  We still think we can solve the world’s problems through our armies.  But history shows that wars are far from perfect.  They usually don’t resolve the conflict in the long run.

For us Christians the cross has become a very powerful symbol.  However, most of us have forgot what the cross was really about.  This is a symbol of suffering.  Dying on a cross was one of the worst ways to die.  It would be extremely painful!  Jesus new that in order to reclaim the world for God would require suffering.  He knew that the old ways of being that gave power to the few would not change easily.  If we are to follow Jesus we must be open to some form of suffering.

Jesus is not saying that God wants us to suffer.  But God knows that if we are to transform the hearts of the most greedy and violent people we must be willing to make sacrifices.  Some people might say that we must be willing to bear our cross. For some it will be an early death, but for the majority of us it will come through harassment, shaming, abuse, embarrassment, and other forms of demeaning.

No one can force us to bear our cross.  Bearing our cross is always a choice.  Bearing our cross is about transforming the world. So suffering that comes from parts of our life we cannot control such as domestic abuse is not bearing our cross.  Here is one story of women choosing to bear their cross.  Bill D Strayhorn shares this story:

Some women who live near Washington D.C. wanted to show God’s love to a special group of people.  They heard about a group of babies who were rarely held and destined to live and die in hospitals because they had A.I.D.S.  The babies didn’t get much attention, so they began to cry silently. No one had responded to their crying out loud so they stopped doing it.  But they still shed tears.

Even though these children would die by their second birthdays, the women took a number of the A.I.D.S. babies’ home.  The women would respond to the silent tears by holding and rocking the babies.  Soon these unloved, cast-off A.I.D.S. babies began to cry out loud again.  They had been spoken to in the only way they could understand. They had been spoken to in the language of love by women willing to deny themselves and take up their cross.

Billy D. Strayhorn Ministry Matters

The Good News is that when we say yes to the cross we don’t have to do this alone.

This is why for me why our faith communities are so important.  We need each other to do the work of the Creator.  We need to support and encourage each other.  We need each other to hold each of us accountable e.g. are we following through on our work.  We need each other to ensure that we all take care of ourselves so we have the good health to keep doing this important ministry.  We need each other to worship and play so as to keep the spirit alive in each of us.

As James keeps reminding us that faith without good works is useless.  So what cross do you choose to bear?   How are you trying to make the world a healthier and just place for all of Creation?  How are you trying to love those on the fringes who are often ignored or taken advantage of?   How are you trying to love your neighbour? How are you working on this with your congregation and community?

This is not to say we should not enjoy life. Jesus loved to have a good time.  Remember when he changed water into wine at a wedding.  Celebrating life together help us to recharge our batteries.  The wonder is that when we are able to experience hopelessness then we can truly appreciate joy.

I invite us all to reflect on why you call yourself a Christian.  For you what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?  How would you answer James when he asks you how you are living out your faith in the world?  What crosses have you chosen to bear?  What crosses are you being called to bear in the future?

May God continue to bless you on this journey.mother Earth-1